The Archive, pavilion for contemporary artist, Amsterdam

By Roberto Lucchese

Photos by Thomas Lenden

Architects: HL_DHL Architecture

The brief for the Atelier Malkovich ideas competition asked for the design of an innovative and functional studio for the contemporary artist. It should address the changing of both their role in society and their working methods. Eight winning designs were built as small pavilions to the peculiar scale of 1:2 – neither building nor model, half symbol and half piece of art. The installations were constructed at the artist’s centre Nieuw en Meer.

The contemporary artist is an archivist in white shiny sneakers and skinny jeans. They work and operate in the modern world of cities and towns. From the Coffee Company to exposition space, from workshop to gallery, they observe and record, gather and collect. They need a place where they can store their accumulated information and where they can archive their inspirations and materials – a safe place, a vault, to download and upload.

Archive has a strong, hard and reflective shell and a warm, soft core. It is an uninterrupted space, an archive corridor, where the artist can walk around and around, endlessly roaming through their orderly labyrinth, master of their soul. If full to the brim it must be emptied and tidied – it is a hard disc for the creative mind!

From the outside, the building is camouflaged with mirrors; it reflects the surroundings negating its own existence. Strange and impenetrable to the unaware, only the owner knows its secrets. The large cabinet doors are almost invisible and the entrance must be discovered. Archive‘s interior is fitted with wooden shelves and ‘shaker’ hooks. The inner garden containing a large dining table is visible through the semi-transparent façade and in the summer bees buzz under a tree. A narrow slit allows the passer by a brief opportunity to glimpse the garden and at a stretch they can peer over the parapet while the owner is tucked away underneath.



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